Heart failure education sessions improve clinician skills

Two heart failure education sessions have been held in Bury and Ashton, Leigh and Wigan, as part of the Greater Manchester Heart Failure Investigation Tool (GM-HFIT) programme.

The programme focuses on improving the management of heart failure in primary care. The education sessions are a key part of the programme; one of the aims of the sessions is to up skill GPs and clinicians in the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure so that they are able to provide high quality care for their patients and help patients improve their own knowledge and self-management.

Local GPs and practice nurses already engaged in the programme took part in workshop-style sessions on topics key to the management of heart failure in primary care, such as effective diagnosis, pharmacological and non-pharmacological management and palliative care. Also discussed were useful resources for patients; the Heart Failure Lights leaflet (which folds to credit card size) is designed to help patients live with heart failure on a daily basis, and the heart failure alert card aims to improve multi-professional input into heart failure patients’ admission, inpatient care and discharge.

In addition to providing formal education, the session also provided an opportunity for GPs and practice nurses to discuss specific clinical cases, develop closer working relationships with local heart failure specialist nurses and ask questions about the programme.

The GM-HFIT programme in Bury and Ashton, Leigh and Wigan follows on from the success of the programme in NHS Manchester. The programme involves a combination of clinical audit, specialist heart failure education, IT template design and standardisation of clinical coding systems. It has been developed using Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) methodology to create a discrete process involving multi-professional teams which bridges gaps between primary and secondary care.

When heart disease is compared to cancers, only lung cancer has a worse prognosis; 30-40 per cent of heart failure patients die within a year of diagnosis and five per cent of deaths in the UK can be attributed to the disease. It is the condition that, on average, results in the second longest hospital stays after stroke. Find out more about the GM-HFIT programme.